Staunton, January 27 – Vladimir Putin has made more promises about the development of the Russian Far East than he has made about that of any other region of the country, but Russian government figures show that in not a single case has one of these promises been completely fulfilled, Margarita Nifontova of Svobodnaya pressa says.
Many Russians elsewhere may not recognize that reality, she says, because the central media keep talking about the programs rather than the state of their implementation; but people in the Far East can see for themselves and as a result are falling into despair out of the belief that things will never get better (svpressa.ru/society/article/191505/).
The last straw for many of them was Putin’s announcement of plans to give a million rubles (16,000 US dollars) to anyone who moved to the Russian Far East for at least two years. That came on the heels of a report that Putin’s programs there had been fulfilled only 34.7 percent (ach.gov.ru/press_center/news/31949), as Russians there could see for themselves.
Why not complete at least one program rather than announce another that may not be fulfilled either, the people in the Russian Far East are asking, Nifontova says. And they are doing the only thing they can: voting with their feet and leaving the region in ever greater numbers and thus undercutting what Moscow says it wants to do.
It is bad enough, she writes, when the Russian government does nothing. It is worse, however, when it says it will and then doesn’t, creating “ephemeral hopes” only to snatch them away. When that happens, Nifontova says, Russians become increasingly distrustful of their own government and doubtful of the competence of its leadership.